As I near completion of blogging about all the movies in my collection, it was just obvious how I could group these three very different films from 2010 and 2012 into one blog. It’s all about being alphabetically OCD.
CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012)
Chernobyl Diaries is one of those movies that bores me until the final amazing act. For starters, how fucking stupid are Americans that we would think going to a town destroyed by radiation is a good idea? Not to mention, who the hell would want to go to Russia…besides Putin-loving Republicans?
Seriously? I wouldn’t put my hands in that shit even without radiation!
Well, this stupid group of friends includes the hottie from Wolf Creek, flash in the pan teen heartthrob pop star Jesse McCartney, one of the cuties from the Friday the 13th remake…and some girls.
As they hop in a van for an extreme tour of the abandoned town, I couldn’t help but feel that this film has a found footage vibe even though it isn’t found footage. But all the boring stuff they do sure makes it feel like it. Most of the film is filled with them touring derelict buildings and encountering lame shit like a bear and wild dogs.
But when they start getting taken by the leftover inhabitants of the town with just 20 minutes remaining, shit gets wild fast!
It’s a nonstop chase from hell through grungy locations while freaky humanoids we never really get a good look at pursue them. It really gives me a Silent Hill vibe. Hell, there’s even a part where one dude finds a map just randomly hanging on a wall. WTF? Can I get a save point, too?
Well, you dumb bitches stuck your hand in the water, so naturally…
This last segment even feels like a linear video game, because no matter how far the survivors run through new locations or how many unexpected turns they make, they somehow keep stumbling upon bodies of their missing friends. How convenient.
DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2010)
Based on a comic book series, Dylan Dog probably gets much of its hate from purists. Having never read the comics, I was able to just go with it. And by it, I mean a typical plot—monster hunter with a comic sidekick.
“Superman Returns” plays Dog, another reason this one received a lot of hate. My only issue with him here is that he has just one brief shirtless scene. Well, that and his annoying narration, which makes this feel like a bad attempt at old school film noir mystery.
His sidekick is Josh from Being Human, playing a zombie here instead of a werewolf. He gets all the funny parts, there just aren’t enough of them. Or maybe there are, but they’ve been spread too thin across the way too long 107-minute run time. Should’ve been 88 minutes tops. That’s right, I don’t even give it a full hour and a half. But back to Josh. As funny as he is here, his slapstick shtick borders on being shrill at times. Needed to be toned down a little.
A variety of cool monsters saves the films, including werewolves, vampires, zombies, and a mega zombie. It’s all very Buffy…or very Being Human. Personally, I think it would work better as a SyFy series based on the pacing and cheesy, goofy tone.
Other highlights include Taye Diggs as the king vampire, who is also disappointingly shirtless only briefly, and wrestler Kurt Angle (River of Darkness)…who disappointingly doesn’t get shirtless at all.
And of course there’s the final boss battle, visually comparable to something cool you might see in Van Helsing, The Brothers Grimm, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and other Hollywood monster movies of the early 2000s. In other words, this film was behind its time.
Richard Bates Jr, director of Suburban Gothic, goes for the gross, disturbing, and stylishly artistic with this bizarre film, which may seem immediately jarring because virtually every moment of dialogue delivery is shot head-on, so each character seems to be speaking directly to the camera.
The supporting cast features a bevy of horror and indie faves, including Traci Lords, Roger Bart, John Waters, Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell, Marlee Matlin, and even little Ariel Winter of Modern Family.
But it is AnnaLynne McCord (Day of the Dead 2008, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, 68 Kill, Scorned) who carries the whole movie, doing what she seems to do best—playing a psycho bitch from hell. Perhaps her career is overshadowed by her time on the 90210 reboot, but she deserves so much more recognition than she gets, especially in the horror genre.
Her performance is what makes this movie worth watching for me, because this isn’t conventional horror and really leaves me unsatisfied when all is said and done. McCord plays the weirdest girl you’d never want to know in high school. Her morbid obsession with becoming a surgeon makes her an outsider everywhere, from home to school. And she’s not the Carrie type, who you actually feel bad for. She is a straight up psycho not even a mother could love.
In a weird way, not much actually happens in the film beyond her interacting with characters and having gruesome dreams that blend sex and mutilation. The movie incorporates aspects of teen struggles, sexual identity, body image, body horror, and religion into the mind of one single character. Expect some of it to be quite repulsive.
The conclusion is as odd as the rest of the film. Despite her strange behavior throughout the film, it somehow feels like there’s no actual build-up to the extreme thing she suddenly does at the end. And considering that moment just works as an exclamation point on the rest of the film, you almost get this feeling of, “Wait! The horror just started!” and then it’s over.